uid

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” -A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholar Usha Ramanathan describes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017.

August 24, 2017: The nine-judge Constitution Bench rules that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty” and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” - Edward Snowden

Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

11259 - Aadhaar assurances fail to assuage privacy concerns - Live Mint

Last Modified: Fri, May 05 2017. 04 21 AM IST


While Aadhaar may be secure from external attacks, a failsafe system hasn’t been developed to protect it from Edward Snowden-style leakages and hacks

Nandan Nilekani has admitted to the need for a data protection law. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Bengaluru: As calls for a privacy and data protection law grow louder with each passing day amid reports of a central government ministry having made up to 130 million Aadhaar numbers public on its website, widespread concerns continue to emerge over loopholes in the security of the unique identification programme, though the man who created the system continues to defend the security and integrity of the system.
Most worryingly, a consensus is emerging among security and privacy experts, who have argued that while the Aadhaar system may be secure from external attacks, a failsafe system has not been developed to protect it from Edward Snowden-style internal leaks or hacks.

“(What has been suggested by the Unique Identification Authority of India and Nandan Nilekani) is that there will never be a data breach like what we saw in the US with the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, or Office of Personnel and Management breaches (data of federal government personnel, including more than 5.6 fingerprints, was leaked), or in Mexico or Turkey, or even in India when the department of defence was breached for cyber-espionage for multiple years without detection,” said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society.

“While the system may be secure from external attacks, there is no failsafe system to make it invulnerable to Snowden-style breaches,” he added.

In an interview, former UIDAI chairman and Infosys Ltd co-founder Nandan Nilekani continued to defend the security of the system and said steps are being taken everyday to enhance the failsafe processes surrounding the system.


“I think the Aadhaar system is extremely well-designed. It’s not an online system that is exposed to the Internet. When enrolment happens, the packet is encrypted at source and sent, so that there can’t be a man-in-the-middle attack. And when the authentication happens, that is also encrypted—not compared to the original data, but to a digital minutiae. The point is that the system is very, very secure. So, if the objection is to centralization, then you should not have clouds. Clouds are also centralized,” said Nilekani. He added that Aadhaar was also safe from internal breaches, an assumption that is being challenged by security experts all across.

“Within seven years of its launch, the Aadhaar system has made a remarkable leap in terms of its security and privacy and it will keep improving things. Technology does not come through immaculate conception, where one morning some perfect technology is born. It has to evolve. It’s called learning by doing,” added Nilekani. He added that improving the security of the system is an ongoing process and conceded that a data protection and privacy law needs to be in place to supplement the current Aadhaar law.

“I know the government has sent a notice to everyone. If somebody has done it; they ought not to have done it—there’s a law for that,” said Nilekani when asked about recent instances of Aadhaar numbers being made public by government departments.

“We should have a data protection and privacy law which is an umbrella law, which looks at all these phenomena and certainly Aadhaar should be part of that. That’s perfectly fine—but people are behaving as if Aadhaar is the only reason why we should have a privacy law,” added Nilekani.

The last few weeks and months have witnessed a steady stream of negative news surrounding Aadhaar and three main cases are currently being fought in the Supreme Court, including one challenging the government’s decision to make the 12-digit ID mandatory for filing income tax returns as well as for obtaining and retaining a PAN Card.

Meanwhile, as Mint reported in April, questions are being raised on the Aadhaar biometric authentication failure rate in the rural job guarantee scheme in areas such as Telangana.

The report of Aadhaar numbers being listed on the government ministry website has caused widespread uproar, although a lawyer pointed out that it is not due to a breach in the Aadhaar system.

“It’s a misnomer to say this a leak because this was voluntarily, very actively put up there. A leak is when some information being kept securely gets breached somehow and comes out. Now, why is this information up on government websites? This is the problem of our government’s perception of transparency...The fact that the Aadhaar numbers are on the government website is not a flaw of the Aadhaar system, but it is a flaw of the understanding of what needs to be done to demonstrate transparency,” said Rahul Matthan, partner at Trilegal.

In a column in Mint, Matthan had also pointed out that while Aadhaar has been a transformative project, there remains enough scope of misusing the database.

“There is a legitimate fear that this identity technology will open us all up to discrimination, prejudice and the risk of identity theft,” Matthan wrote. “Aadhaar has given us the tools to harness data in large volumes. If used wisely, this technology can transform the nation. If not, it can cause us untold harm. We need to be prepared for the impending flood of data—we need to build dams, sluice gates and canals in its path so that we can guide its flow to our benefit.”

Even as both sides debate the issue of Aadhaar’s security, calls are getting louder to revamp the unique identification database.
“The point is that the UIDAI knows the device ID of the machine with which the biometric transaction took place along with the time and date, which means that by just using basic data analytics, any one with access to the transaction logs from the UIDAI (which have to be kept for a period of 5 years and 6 months) can have a complete view of a person’s Aadhaar-based interactions that are increasing day by day.”

“Further, the UIDAI has built up a biometric profile of the entire country. This means that courts can order UIDAI to provide law enforcement agencies the biometrics for an entire state (as the Bombay high court did) to check if they match against the fingerprints recovered from a crime scene. This too is surveillance, since it collects biometrics of all residents in advance rather than just that of criminal suspects,” said Prakash of CIS.

“The UIDAI could have chosen to derive unique 16 digit numbers from your Aadhaar number and provide a different one to each requesting entity. That would have prevented much of these fears. But the UIDAI did not opt for that more privacy-friendly design,” he added.